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RailPlan20/20

Digital technology

Adapting to the digital world

The rail industry recognises that it must adapt to the digital world using:

  • traffic management
  • driver advisory systems
  • and digital train control

These technologies will allow us to run more trains safely and reliably. Implementation of digital technologies requires investment in both train and infrastructure. Thameslink Programme is leading the way by harnessing digital technology to release capacity and enable more frequent trains on existing tracks - a world first on the UK mainline railway.

New rail technology

New signalling and Automatic Train Operation (ATO) will deliver real benefits to passengers, allowing trains to operate at a Tube-like frequency every 2-3 minutes across central London.

In combination with European Track Control System (ETCS) for in-cab signalling, ATO enables trains to run at much higher frequencies ensuring safe distances are maintained. ATO is already used on the London Underground and with growing passenger numbers on this part of the network, this is the next step for the entire rail industry and the Thameslink Programme is leading the way.

A Traffic Management System (TMS) will be used to support the high frequency Thameslink timetable helping to plan and re-plan train movements in real time. This decision support tool will help sequencing of trains to and from the Thameslink core to:

  • aid drivers and control staff to keep trains running on time
  • speed up recovery from service disruption helping to reduce delays and maximise the efficiency of our existing infrastructure

As a result of TMS 24 trains per hour can be handled at peak times through the route's central core between St Pancras International and Blackfriars stations.

New technology does not just apply to the new trains, at stations enhanced customer information systems will help customers more quickly and efficiently.

Ticketing technology

We've invested in technology, allowing us to improve your journey. Introducing free Wi-Fi on our new trains and pay as you go smartcard ticketing.